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No matter what you lead, where you lead, or who you lead the natural tendency is to allow the immediate needs of the organization to consume your attention.

Taking time to think, learn, and listen takes a back seat to handling those 60 emails that are in your inbox, or that call from a parent who needs advice, or that report that needs to be filed. If we don’t make intentional time to think, learn, and listen then immediate demands for our attention will always win. Here are some strategies I am using my time to think, learn, and listen. I try to….

Stay Current >> one of the best ways to stay current is to follow a few blogs regularly. I have about 25-30 bloggers from all around the country that I stay connected with. Blogs are a great way to see what other leaders are processing. Mix it up also. Follow ministry leaders, marketing leaders, business leaders and think outside the box.

Stay Challenged >> read, read, and then read more. I think reading allows us to learn from people on our time when it is convenient for us. I try to balance spiritual and leadership books from different authors that will challenge me to see life and leadership in different ways.

Find inspiration >> there is no inspiration like the inspiration that comes from God himself. Blocking off time for prayer and Scripture is a must. I also find inspiration by changing up my schedule, working from different places, and making time each year for conferences.

Get advice >> connect with other leaders in churches and ministries you want to learn from and ask questions. I have a few guys out there who I go to when I need direction. Look for churches you respect, check into the leaders there, and go for it…ask questions.

Personal growth has to be intentional. Don’t settle. Make time to think, learn, and listen!